Even if a patient does not have a family history of colorectal cancer, colorectal screening is one of the most powerful tools we as doctors have against the disease. Both men and women should get screened for colorectal cancer, as cancer that develops from polyps can take as many as 15 years to develop. [Read more…]
Hemorrhoids are a very common side effect of pregnancy, which can a whole new layer of daily discomfort to a pregnant patient’s life. When a pregnant patient comes to you with hemorrhoids, you need to be prepared to discuss with them why hemorrhoids are more prevalent during pregnancy and their treatment options should the hemorrhoids be severe enough. [Read more…]
Blood in the stool, painful bowel movements, anal itching…patients that experience these symptoms may be worried what these symptoms mean and if they’re evidence of hemorrhoids or anal fissures.
These two conditions may seem similar with their symptoms and causes, but they are two separate conditions. Here’s what you should know about anal fissures vs. hemorrhoids: [Read more…]
Hemorrhoids are simple to treat and a very common condition. But what about diagnosing them? The symptoms of hemorrhoids can vary from person to person, and some may show no symptoms at all while others are similar to other conditions.
There are two initial methods for diagnosing a patient with hemorrhoids:
- Digital Examination
- Visual Inspection
Walk Patients Through Diagnosis
Examinations can cause stress and anxiety in patients. Before you begin digital or visual examinations to diagnose hemorrhoids, explain to them in simple terms what to expect and that this examination is very routine.
While performing the examination, let patients know what you’re doing and what you’ll do next. This will help alleviate any anxiety about the procedure.
Digital & Visual Examination
During a digital exam, a gloved, lubricated finger is inserted into the rectum. If hemorrhoids are present, you should feel abnormal growths that are the swollen veins. This is a signal that further testing is needed to not only diagnose hemorrhoids, but also rule out other conditions.
If swollen veins cannot be felt, you may also perform a visual examination with an anoscope, procotoscope, or sigmoidoscope. This will allow you to see any problems related to rectal bleeding as well as diagnose hemorrhoids that are too soft to be felt by a digital examination.
Rule Out Other Conditions
- Colon cancer
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
Ask your patient about any other symptoms they have been experiencing and whether any have changed or worsened. This could indicate a larger problem. Also reassure your patients that there is no need to worry about hemorrhoids leading to cancer since the two are unrelated.
Referring Patients To A Specialist
If hemorrhoids are diagnosed and can be treated via methods like rubber band ligation, it is advised to refer them to a doctor who specializes and is trained in proctology procedures for safe and effective treatment.
Remind patients that many hemorrhoids can heal on their own and to alleviate symptoms at home via methods like sitz baths and using topical treatments like hemorrhoid creams. Follow up with them to ensure their symptoms do not worsen.
As a gastroenterologist, you know patients who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have their quality of life affected due to its unpredictability. And to make matters worse, IBS can be the cause of additional health problems, including hemorrhoids.
Here’s what you need to know about the connection between IBS and hemorrhoids: [Read more…]
Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are clumps of swollen blood vessels in the anus or lower rectum that are itchy and can cause pain or even bleed, which can make sitting and going to the bathroom unpleasant.
If you’ve had hemorrhoids before or have never suffered from them, you may be asking yourself, “How can I prevent hemorrhoids from happening in the first place?”
Thankfully, hemorrhoids can be prevented with a few easy lifestyle changes. [Read more…]
No one likes talking about hemorrhoids in everyday conversation, and it is common to feel embarrassed about them. However, it is important not to let this feeling prevent you from seeking proper medical care. Understanding what hemorrhoids are will help you as a patient realize that there is nothing to be embarrassed about so you can seek the diagnosis and treatment you need. [Read more…]
Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include bleeding during bowel movements, irritation or itching in or near the anus, discomfort in or near the anus, lumps protruding from the anal region, and swelling in the anal region. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms related to hemorrhoids so you can seek treatment and reduce any pain associated with the condition.